That day, he removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white in it, and all the black ones among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons. He set three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.
Jacob took to himself rods of fresh poplar, almond, plane tree, peeled white streaks in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. He set the rods which he had peeled opposite the flocks in the gutters in the watering-troughs where the flocks came to drink. They conceived when they came to drink. The flocks conceived before the rods, and the flocks produced streaked, speckled, and spotted. Jacob separated the lambs,
and set the faces of the flocks toward the streaked and all the black in the flock of Laban: and he put his own droves apart, and didn’t put them into Laban’s flock. It happened, whenever the stronger of the flock conceived, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the flock in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods; but when the flock were feeble, he didn’t put them in. So the feebler were Laban’s, and the stronger Jacob’s. The man increased exceedingly, and had large flocks, female servants and male servants, and camels and donkeys.
Sometimes, God blesses us in spite of ourselves. That’s what I think that we are reading about here. There really isn’t any scientific reason that we know of why looking at pealed bark while mating would make sheep give birth to spotted lambs. In fact, we know that there is a very defined natural order to how often sheep variation occurs. In this case, however, a miracle happened.
The odd thing is that Jacob seemed to think that his bark pealing was doing some kind of good. He tried to make his flock stronger by putting the stripped wood in front of strong sheep and not in front of weak ones. His flocks did grow, but I think it was God’s doing it not Jacob’s.
I’m not singling out Jacob because I have done the very same things. Sometimes, I actually think that I have figured out how to get rich. The reality is, though, that I don’t actually know what I am doing. I don’t read in the Bible that God makes us prosper by our own intelligence and power. God does expect us to work hard, and Proverbs tells us that those who work hard gain a profit, but Proverbs also tells us to stop trying to be rich. It is God who ultimately gives us what we need to live on.
When I read this record, I keep longing for the time when Jacob will realize that His God is going to give him everything. All he has to do is whatever God says to do. Jacob has nothing to worry about. Sometimes, however, I fail to see that God has also promised to help me as I trust in His power every day.
One of the problems with thinking that somehow we are earning all of our own money, is that we fail to give God the thanks that He deserves for the miracles that He is producing in our lives. How much better it would be for us to keep our eyes on Him and what He is doing so that we are ready to give Him all of the glory He deserves.